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Match Reports

REPORT Oxford United 1 Sheffield Wednesday 1

Bannan and Brannagan goals as United draw with the leaders

7 April 2023

Match Reports

REPORT Oxford United 1 Sheffield Wednesday 1

Bannan and Brannagan goals as United draw with the leaders

7 April 2023

Oxford United continue to edge towards safety after a Cameron Brannagan penalty earned them a 1-1 draw against leaders Sheffield Wednesday at the Kassam Stadium this afternoon.

Brannagan's late spot kick cancelled out a superb opening goal from Wednesday skipper Barry Bannan, as the U's once again fought for everything and deservedly picked up a point after a highly disciplined display.

With the luxury of being able to name the same team from the previous game - a novelty this season - United were the same resolute team that drew at Peterborough, and they were able to keep Wednesday relatively quiet for the first 20 minutes, despite conceding territory in what turned out to be the visitors' best spell.

They then settled down and created the first clear opportunity when a superb free kick from Marcus Browne was flicked goalwards by Elliott Moore but beaten away by Owls keeper David Stockdale at close range.

That sparked a much brighter spell from the U’s, although no further chances, but ten minutes from the break they fell behind to a moment of magic from Bannan. You can argue that he should have been closed down quicker, but as Bannan drifted across from the right there looked to be little danger until he suddenly curled an outrageous effort at goal. The startled Simon Eastwood did all he could but the ball was always destined for the top corner and the leaders were ahead.


Eastwood then kept his side in it with three saves in the first three minutes of the second half - two excellent, one right place, right time - all from Mallik Wilks, before the Yellows started to raise their game and cause problems at the other end.

Gatlin O'Donkor, on as a half-time sub, gave them a focal point, and only an excellent block from Aden Flint stopped him from sliding home a Kyle Joseph cross at the back post as they started to play the game increasingly in the Wednesday half.

The biggest league crowd of the season did their best to roar the team towards them, and the players responded. The excellent Ciaron Brown and Josh Murphy both let fly from distance without worrying keeper David Stockdale, Stu Findlay was wrestled to the ground, unobserved by the officials, and on 70 minutes they were deservedly back in the game as Brannagan blasted them level from the spot.

The decision came after Kyle Joseph's persistence (never in doubt) had led to a shooting chance from the edge of the box. Stockdale half-stopped it but the loose ball allowed Browne to get in front of Akin Famewo, who tripped him, with ref Rebecca Welch in no doubt as she pointed to the spot.


Now United were in the ascendancy, with the crowd right on their side. Stockdale somehow tipped a Moore header over the bar, the skipper injured in the process and forced off to give Stephan Negru a debut in his place and a switch to three at the back, with fellow sub Brandon Fleming as left wing-back.

That took the momentum away and Wednesday came forward again. The last ten minutes were understandably tense; United haven't won in 13 games, the Owls now in six, and fans of the two sides will have very differing views on whether life in League 1 next season is on the cards.

But from an Oxford perspective, three draws in a row, each one better than the last and each a step in the right direction, is very welcome. Big crowd roaring the team on, entertainment, unquestioning commitment. Plenty of good things to build on for the final seven games.

Good Friday. Definitely good.

Att: 10,238
Away: 1,482

Polythene UK Fifty/50 winning number 73499 wins £1017.50

Report by Chris Williams, pictures Steve Daniels, Steve Edmunds and Darrell Fisher, stats by OPTA

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